Award-winning program advances Great Lakes literacy and stewardship among K-12 students throughout southeast Michigan.
The Great Lakes Education Program begins its 28th year of classroom and vessel-based education in April. More than 3,400 teachers have joined the program on the water over those years.
GLEP education provides teachers and students with an award-winning learning opportunity that includes classroom, vessel-based and shoreside education. Students are the future stewards of our incredible Great Lakes, and this is an effective and memorable way to engage them in both learning about the lakes and in developing a personal sense of stewardship. We share a common ownership of and stewardship responsibility for the lakes. Teachers can register their class to participate and help students understand how important the Great Lakes are in Michigan.
Helps meet science standards
The program helps teachers meet Michigan’s Grade Level Content Expectations, Michigan K-12 Science Standards, and the regional Great Lakes Literacy principles. Not to mention that 95 percent of students report they felt more knowledgeable about Great Lakes science after participating.
More than 115,000 students and adults have joined the program and learned more about the Great Lakes since 1991. Designed as a collaborative effort of Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Great Lakes Education Program provides students, their teachers and adult chaperones with an unforgettable on-the-water learning experience. With locations on both Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, it is easy for schools throughout southeast Michigan to participate.
Registration is now open for the spring 2018 Great Lakes Education Program season, which runs from mid-April through mid-June. For more complete information on the program, the spring season calendar, locations, cost, and how to register go to the Great Lakes Education Program website.
The longest running citizen science project in the world celebrates its 118th year.
Birders are all bundled up at Tahquamenon Falls in the winter. Photo: Elliot Nelson | Michigan Sea Grant
In 1900, an ornithologist (aka bird scientist) named Frank Chapman proposed a new holiday tradition, to count birds across the entire country. Conservation was in its early days, and Chapman was concerned about the decline in many of the bird species he loved. Frank Chapman’s idea was to collect data across the country on what birds were present and in what numbers to provide information on how bird populations were changing. Over the years this count, became known as the Christmas Bird Count. The count, which is organized by the National Audubon Society, has gained in popularity. In 1900, there were 24 counts from California to New York. Now there are over 2,500 counts ranging from Antarctica to Brazil to the farthest reaches of Alaska each year.
Fun and serious science
While counting the birds is a fun holiday tradition, the data collected is serious business. The data stored by the National Audubon Society is being used by ornithologists around the world for important research. The information collected in the counts can be used to track how bird populations are changing over time and how habitat changes can effect bird populations.
What is particularly unique about the Christmas Bird Counts is that they are run by volunteers with data collected by ordinary citizens from across the country. Anyone can volunteer to assist a particular count regardless of skill level.
Volunteers still needed
In Michigan there are around 65 counts that take place. Each count is organized on the local level by passionate volunteers or organizations such as Michigan Audubon, The Nature Conservancy and Michigan Sea Grant/Michigan State University Extension.
Each count is held on one day between December 14 and January 5. Many surveys take place during the weekend to attract the most participants and many counts are still looking for volunteers. If you are interested in participating in the Christmas Bird Count you can check out this interactive map to find the count closes to you. You can also contact the Michigan Audubon or one of their local chapters and they can help point you towards a count close to you. For more information on participating in a count read this Michigan Audubon article.
The holidays are a great time of year to get out and experience the outdoors. Why not contribute to science while you are at it?